Phonics and Reading Programs for Early Learners

Have a child ready to learn to read? Don't miss this post where we discuss some of the top phonics and reading programs for early learners.

Last week we discussed some tips on how parents can teach their children to read. Today we are going to discuss some of the top phonics and reading programs for early learners.

Hooked on Phonics

I have used Hooked on Phonics to teach five children to read. I absolutely LOVE this program, and cannot say enough good things about it. Hooked on Phonics teaches children to read using the phonics program. Children start with short vowel words (-at, -an, -ap) and then move on to short i, short u, and then long vowel sounds. Every 3-4 lessons the child gets a review lesson where they also learn sight words like where, like, who, there, etc. At the end of this lesson they also get a REAL book to read. My kids were always so excited to get these books. They packed them around and read them to everyone that would listen. Hooked on Phonics is a fantastic program for teaching children to read!

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

This is another popular phonics based reading program. It is probably best used with a child who had not had any reading instruction due to the fact that it uses an unusual formation of letters to represent sounds. Teach Your Child uses 44 different letter formations to teach children how to read. Using the letter formations eliminates problems such as the different sounds of certain letters when used in conjunction with other letters (example tan and than).

We tried this program once, and it was not a good fit for us. However the product gets great reviews from those who have used it successfully and many say that it is easier to use than other reading programs.

All About Reading

All About Reading is an intense phonics program for children in preK through 4th grade. Using the Orton-Gillingam methodology, AAR boasts the ability to teach 97% of English words phonetically leaving only 3% to be learned as sight words.

AAR is an interactive multi sensory program that is mostly open and go. The lessons are scripted but can be adapted with hands on activities, a child’s favorite book, and adjusting the pace of the lessons. AAR receives great reviews and is one of Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top picks.

Teaching a child to read is one of the best parts of homeschooling. When the time comes for this child I encourage you to take a look at one of these three reading programs. Also, ask around and see what worked for others you know, ask to see the programs in person. With a little help you can find the perfect phonics and reading program for your new reader!

Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

Paul Schaeffer

Paul Schaeffer

Paul Schaeffer is the assistant director of the Classical Latin School Association and a consultant for schools and homeschoolers. He received a classical education from his parents and at school. He then went on to study philosophy in Rome, where he helped run the International Leadership Semester. He has taught middle school, high school, and college-level Latin internationally. His favorite class to teach was the 7th grade Classical Studies course at Highlands Latin School in Louisville, Kentucky, where the students read and discussed Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. He is married to his beautiful wife, Sarah, and they reside in Kentucky.

3 Tips to Teaching a Child to Read

Here are some tips for teaching a child to read. #3 is great!

Years ago when I was longing to be a teacher, my desired grade was 1st. Why? Because at the time this is the grade when teachers taught their students to read. I LOVED reading, and volunteered throughout Jr. High, High School and College in the reading lab.

When I first began homeschooling I started out with an eager 5 year old who was longing to read. We purchased the curriculum and got to work. To my surprise it wasn’t as easy as I thought it’d be! Fast forward 6 years and I am working on my 5th reader (2 of my own, 3 extras). I have learned a few things about what works, and what doesn’t. Here are three tips to teaching a child to read.

Immerse them in Books

From the womb we have read to our children. As infants we offered sensory books, as toddlers we offered board books, and at preschool age we began reading good quality literature. We have immersed our kids in books at a young age, and so far it has paid off!

Kids LOVE books! IF they are offered to them. In order to create a reader you have to encourage a love of reading in your kids. Reading often will give your children the longing to learn to read themselves. It will create in them a love of reading that will last a lifetime.

Be Patient

I am not the most patient person, and sadly that shows in our beloved phonics curriculum. In the first book there are pencil marks where I circled words over and over again that my daughter missed. I remember those moments; I remember the tears and the frustration (from both of us). And, I have left the pencil marks there. Why? As a reminder that patience pays off. The second book has little to no pencil marks in it, and you know what? She breezed through that book.

Patience is SO important when it comes to teaching a child to read. Patience builds confidence; and confidence is a skill that is required for learning to read. If a child does not feel confident in their own abilities they will not offer their best work. So, be patient!

Be an Example

This goes along to an extent with being patient. Modeling patience will encourage our children to be patient while they are learning. BUT, we should also model a love of reading. Let your children see you read, take them to the library, let them see you checking out books, let them see that reading is something fun to do. By being an example, you will encourage your child in their own reading endeavors.

These are just a few tips that can help when teaching a child to read. Come back next week as we take a look at some of the best reading curriculums!

Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool mom.  She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.




5 Things to Consider Before Homeschooling

Things to consider before homeschooling


Now is the time of year when public schools have been in session for awhile. Homework is starting to come home with the kids, and the excitement of the new year is wearing down. Where I live there have also been major events happening within the local public schools. Cases like transgender students, bullying, school violence, and other occurrences often make parents second guess there choice of public schools.

Homeschooling is a wonderful thing, and one that has been a huge blessing for our family. Yet, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. When parents come to me after the situations above and ask me about homeschooling I encourage them to consider a few things before jumping ship.

  1. Feelings- Are you considering homeschooling because you’re emotional? Oftentimes anger can get the best of us. If you are considering homeschooling because you are angry with the public school, I recommend you give it more time. The situation may calm down, or you may find another solution.
  2. Time-Many parents do not realize the massive amount of time homeschooling takes. Parents who are already maxed out time wise may not be in the best situation to homeschool their children. The first few weeks’ school may take upwards of 5 hours a day. Maybe longer depending on how well your children cooperate. Before homeschooling, I recommend checking your schedule, eliminating things if need be, and clearing out the time to homeschool.
  3. Children’s Opinion-Do your children want to be homeschooled? If not, then you may be in a hard spot before even beginning. I am a firm believer that parents make the choices, but our children’s opinions should be taken into consideration. Talk to your children about why you are considering homeschooling. Explain how things will go, and why you think this is the best choice. If they are still against it, I recommend a trial period. Let them know you will try it out for a set amount of time, and then revaluate how homeschooling is going.
  4. Commitment-Homeschooling requires a commitment from at least one parent. A commitment to your child’s education is not one to be taken lightly. Be sure you are willing to take on the responsibility before homeschooling.
  5. Money-Curriculum costs money, if a parent works outside the home, they may need to cut back, having kids home more will mean more resources like food, electric, and water. Field trips and co-op classes may cost, and school supplies will also need to be purchased.

Homeschooling is a big decision, and one that should not be taken lightly. Homeschooling requires time, money, and commitment; these are all things that people may not consider before considering homeschooling.

If you have went through the above scenarios and still feel led to homeschool then great! We have tons of resources here that can be of great value to you. Homeschooling is a decision that when made thoughtfully, is often times not regretted!

Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool mom.  She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

3 Times You Shouldn’t Use a Boxed Curriculum

3 Times You Shouldn't Use a Boxed Curriculum

I remember my very first year homeschooling; I ordered one of those big boxes of curriculum from one publisher. Everything came in one box, and my shopping was done in one swoop. I was thrilled!

Fast forward a few weeks and we were miserable. Why? That particular boxed curriculum wasn’t working for us anymore…

Boxed curriculums are great, and they work for many families, including ours! But, sometimes they don’t work. And as a homeschool mom, you have to make the curriculum choice for your family. There are a few situations when you probably shouldn’t use a boxed curriculum.

You fly by the seat of your pants

If you’re a homeschool mom who doesn’t do well with structure, then boxed curriculum may NOT be right for you. Boxed curriculums are structured, and organized, and that type of curriculum may not work with every personality type.

You don’t like feeling “boxed” in

If you like choice and flexibility, then a boxed curriculum may make you feel “boxed” in. A boxed curriculum lasts you a whole year. Once you have started the year, you pretty much have to continue on the schedule to finish the year on time. This means that if you want to try something else, or follow a rabbit trail that interests you, you may not have time.

You get bored easily

Some homeschool families like to change things up often. If this is your family, then a boxed curriculum may not work for you. The boxed curriculums I have used tend to use the same pattern each day or week. The basic structure of the curriculum is the same throughout the year. If you think you would get bored with this familiarity then you probably shouldn’t use a boxed curriculum.

One good thing about any curriculum is that once you try it, if you don’t like it, you can move on to something else! The same is true with a boxed curriculum.  If you still feel like you want to try a boxed curriculum then by all means go for it! Boxed curriculums work for many families, and even if you fit in one of these categories it *may* still work for you. But, you have been warned :).

Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool mom.  She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

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